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Ballston Dental Arts
900 N Taylor Street, Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22203

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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

Finding Out About Gum Disease

Tooth decay and cavities can wreak havoc on your oral health, but did you know that gum disease is another incredibly harmful condition that can cause irreversible damage to your teeth and gums? Clinically called periodontal disease, gum disease is a set of conditions that negatively impact your gums and eventually results in losing your teeth as well as a host of potentially serious health conditions. Having knowledge of the signs of gum disease is the best way to prevent this condition from negatively impacting your smile and your health.

How Gum Disease Negatively Impacts Your Health

Many people think that gum disease is a problem that only affects older people. This is a dangerous misconception. Gum disease impacts people of all ages. 75% of people in America have it, with only 15% of those people actually aware of their condition. Approximately 60% of teenagers 15 and older have some form of the condition. While there are things you can do to lessen your risk of developing the disease, around 30% of people are born with a genetic predisposition that increases their risk of developing gum disease. Establishing basic dental care habits can prevent the full onset of gum disease. Having a strong dental care routine can help you to prevent, treat and reverse the condition.

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. It is caused by bacteria building up inside of your mouth that leads to the gums become inflamed. The most common signs of having gingivitis include gums that are red and swollen that bleed when they are brushed. Gum disease in its later stages is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. However, it is an entirely preventable condition.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Plaque and bacteria are the primary culprits behind gum disease. There are also specific age and lifestyle factors that can lead to an increase in the levels of plaque and bacteria present in the mouth. This means that your dental care routine is an essential element when it comes to keeping your teeth.

  • Hormonal changes. Women undergo hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, menopause and menstruation that can lead to the gums being more sensitive to developing gingivitis.
  • Illnesses. Did you know that sickness and disease can impact the condition of your gums? Patients with diseases such as HIV, cancer and diabetes are at a higher risk of developing infections. This includes cavities and gum disease.
  • Medications. A common side effect of prescription medications is dry mouth. Dry mouth impairs the production of saliva in the mouth, making it less likely that bacteria is being consistently washed away from the gums and teeth. Two categories of drugs that frequently cause this condition are anticonvulsants and anti-angina medications.
  • Poor lifestyle habits. The frequent use of tobacco damages the gum tissue and makes it harder for the tissue to heal itself. This increases the levels of toxins in the mouth and can lead to periodontal disease.
  • Dental care neglect. Failing to brush and floss daily, as well as skipping out on routine dental appointments makes it more likely that the bacteria in your mouth will continue to build up. This leads to inflammation and disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

Many patients have some form of periodontal disease and don’t know about it until they see a dentist. This is because the disease often has few symptoms in its earliest stages. If you know what signs to look for, you may be able to catch the disease before it becomes more serious and causes irreversible damage. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Swollen, tender or red gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Chronic foul taste
  • Receding gum line
  • Noticeable “pockets” between the teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes in your bite or in the way your dentures fit

Facts You Should Know About Gum Disease

Gum disease is easily treated when it is caught in its earliest stages. However, if you allow gingivitis to remain it will turn into periodontal disease.

In addition to this, plaque can spread beneath the gums. The toxins present within plaque cause your gums to become irritated and inflamed. This causes further degradation to the bone and tissue beneath your teeth. As the teeth and gums separate, even more tissue and bone are destroyed. Eventually, your teeth will become loose and may need to be removed. If you have respiratory disease, a heart problem or diabetes, you may be more susceptible to developing periodontitis.

There are different forms of periodontitis. Your risk of having the disease depends on various factors.

  • Chronic periodontitis features symptoms such as inflammation and the teeth gradually becoming detached from the gums. It is the most common form of periodontitis.
  • Aggressive periodontitis features symptoms where the bone becomes destroyed and the teeth become detached at a rapid rate. This tends to happen in people who are generally healthy.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis occurs when the periodontal ligaments, bone and gum tissue die. This type of periodontitis is frequently found in patients who have suppressed immune systems.

How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

  • Eat a diet that is low in sugars and starches.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-approved toothpaste. Better yet, brush your teeth after every meal. If you can’t brush your teeth directly after eating, rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Use a mouthwash after you brush your teeth for at least 60 seconds.
  • Thoroughly floss at least once a day.

Protecting Yourself From Periodontal Disease

You may have gum disease and not even know it. Hundreds of types of bacteria reside within the mouth. It only takes 24 hours for them to begin reappearing after you’ve had a professional cleaning done by your dentist. To be sure that you don’t have this condition, you need to see an experienced dentist in Arlington on a routine basis.

Receiving proper dental care is the key to keeping irreversible damage from being done to your teeth and gums.

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Ballston Dental Arts

900 N Taylor Street, Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22203

(703) 291-3111